Navy sensor net ready for more tests

A Navy network of sensors is ready for another round of tests next month

after Raytheon Co. fixed problems that emerged during testing in September,

industry sources said.

The Cooperative Engagement Capability program is a system of sensors

that enables multiple ships to simultaneously detect and track enemy air

threats, even if an individual ship's sensors have not yet picked up the

incoming threat.

In September, Raytheon and the Navy tested CEC aboard the aircraft carrier

battle groups USS Eisenhower and Kennedy in the Virginia capes, and the

system had some problems that have since been fixed, according to a Raytheon

official.

The next tests will be Dec. 1 through 16 in Puerto Rico and in the waters

around the Virginia capes. The system is also scheduled for an operational

evaluation in May.

"[The problems] were primarily to do with the link scheduling that occurs

when you get links dropping in and out," said Tony Gecan, CEC engineering

fellow at Raytheon. "We were getting a certain number of network management

messages that were more than we wanted to see."

Gecan added that the network remained up and running despite the minor

problems and that Raytheon solved the problem by changing the algorithms

that govern scheduling.

Raytheon officials said that they have been marketing an expanded version

of CEC known as the Joint Sensor Network to the other military services.

That network is to be used as the basis for a Single Integrated Air Picture,

a joint effort to weave together all the data from sensors owned by the

individual military services into one cohesive view of air threats.

The Single Integrated Air Picture effort so far is focused on detecting

and tracking incoming ballistic missiles.

Raytheon has demonstrated CEC capabilities for the Joint Forces Command,

the Army and the Air Force. In addition, the United Kingdom likely will

purchase several CEC systems.

Raytheon officials say they have already earned about $1 billion in

revenue from the CEC program and hope evolving it into the Joint Sensor

Network will allow them to match that number. British involvement will be

worth about $100 million.

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